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01 Oct 2022

Rosemary Conley CBE DL handed lifetime achievement honour at Enterprising Women Awards 2022

A Leicester businesswoman and author who made her name developing exercise and health programmes has been recognised for her 50 years’ contribution to the region’s business community at East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women Awards.

Rosemary Conley CBE DL was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the gala dinner, held on 30 September at Leicester Tigers’ Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium in partnership with Futures Housing Group.

Designed to honour a businesswoman who has contributed to the region and their sector for at least a decade, the category was introduced to mark the Enterprising Women network’s 25th anniversary, which was also celebrated at the event.

Rosemary is best known for authoring low-fat diet and exercise programme The Hip and Thigh Diet in 1988, which sold more than two million copies. She is now a trustee at Steps Conductive Education Centre, which supports children with motor and developmental disorders.

Emily Smith named Chamber’s Business Woman of the Year 2022

She was among 11 winners, featuring rising stars, entrepreneurs and diversity champions. The Business Woman of the Year title presented to Emily Smith, operations and finance director at Michael Smith Switchgear as well as managing director at sister company AVW Fabrications.

Since joining the firm in 2013, Emily has driven investment in new machinery, improved efficiency and streamlined its processes, all with stakeholders and CSR policies at the forefront of her decision-making.

Enterprising Women co-chairs Jean Mountain and Eileen Perry MBE DL also presented special recognition awards to three finalists, including Monic Huang, of Morningside Pharmaceuticals; Emma Baumback, of Future Life Wealth Management; and Tracey Mosley, of EMA Training.

Eileen said: “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of this year’s Enterprising Women Awards. The gala dinner is always the biggest date in the calendar for the network, which Jean and I look forward to attending every year – and the breadth of female talent across the East Midlands business community just gets stronger.

“It was fantastic having the opportunity to honour someone of Rosemary’s stature with the Lifetime Achievement award as she is a fantastic ambassador both for enterprising women and our region more generally. Each winner is so deserving and I’m proud to be able to celebrate their achievements through the network.”

Awards mark 25 years of Enterprising Women network

Eileen and Jean welcomed more than 350 guests at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on the evening – where they stepped into their usual double act on stage that has coined them the affectionate nickname of “Ant and Dec” after many years of hosting business lunches and networking events for the network.

As well as being the biggest awards programme yet for Enterprising Women, the gala dinner also marked the anniversary of when Jean co-founded the network in 1997, when it was part of Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce before its merger with its Derbyshire and Leicestershire counterparts.

Jean said: “When I co-founded Enterprising Women 25 years ago, the business landscape was very male-dominated. We wanted to change that and create a space for women to network with each other, learn from one another’s experience and gain skills to use in their work, and sometimes personal lives.

“Recognising the achievements of women in business was an important part of that, to give them the confidence to succeed further and thrive in their careers.

“I’m so proud of how far the network has come, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles presented Eileen and Jean with a framed caricature picture and a trophy each thanking them for their dedication to Enterprising Women.

ITV weather presenter Emma Jesson returned to host the black-tie event, which was packed with entertainment provided by singer-songwriter Esmee Esho, comedian Patrick Monahan and Leicester band The Jamlocks.

Other supporters included design sponsor Cross Productions, media sponsor Purpose Media, AV sponsor Conference Works and print sponsor Soar Valley Press.

Enterprising Women Awards 2022 winners

Business Woman of the Year – Sponsored by Futures Housing Group

Emily Smith – Michael Smith Switchgear

Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Sponsored by Midlands Engine Investment Fund

Dawn Brown – Rose Cottage Doggy Day Care

Social Commitment Award – Sponsored by She Inspires Global 

Gift Wellness

Small Business of the Year – Sponsored by Unique Window Systems 

Fraser Stretton Property Group

Female Employee of the Year – Sponsored by Smallman & Son

Karen Miles – trentbarton

Team of the Year – Sponsored by PPL PRS

TwentyTwenty – Love4Life

Outstanding Contribution to Work in STEM – Sponsored by Pick Everard

De Montfort University

Apprentice of the Year – Sponsored by EMA Training

Ruby Birks – Purpose Media

Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Amanda Daly – The Turnaround CEO

Jessica Barnett – Timms Solicitors

Diversity Champion – Sponsored by Breedon Consulting

Stephen Gould – Everards Brewery

Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by Paradigm Wills and Sales Solutions

Rosemary Conley CBE DL